Canadian Forest Service Publications

La prénylation des protéines chez les insectes : cible prometteuse pour le développement d'insecticides biorationnels ciblant les Lépidoptères? 2014. Barbar, A.; Cusson, M. Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement (BASE)18:376-382.

Year: 2014

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35710

Language: French

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Mark record


Protein prenylation in insects: a potential target for the development of bio-rational insecticides targeting the Lepidoptera? Short-chain prenyltransferases (farnesyl diphosphate synthase [FPPS] and geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase [GGPPS]) and protein-prenyltransferases (farnesyltransferase and geranylgeranyltransferase) are enzyme families involved in the synthesis of C15 and C20 prenyl moieties and in their attachment to the carboxyl-termini of a variety of eukaryotic proteins, respectively. Given that protein prenylation is an important post-translational modification essential for the localization and activation of many proteins, these enzymes have been the focus of many studies in mammals, with a view to developing new therapeutic tools for the treatment of cancer. In insects, only FPPS and GGPPS have been characterized to date. FPPS displays unique features in the Lepidoptera, thereby making it a potential target for the development of bio-rational insecticides that can disrupt key pathways, such as juvenile hormone biosynthesis and protein prenylation. Further characterization of insect FPPS and GGPPS, and biochemical investigations of insect protein-prenyltransferases may provide the foundation for the development of bio-rational insecticides targeting protein prenylation.

Plain Language Summary

Developing strategies and tools to control spruce budworm (SBW) outbreaks requires thorough knowledge of the biology of this destructive pest of Canadian fir and spruce forests.

More specifically, by expanding our knowledge of SBW enzymes, it will become possible to design new pest control products and develop substances that will block the action of these enzymes.

Canadian Forest Service (CFS) researchers have characterized enzymes that play an important role in the vital metabolic processes of SBW. One of these processes is prenylation, which makes it possible to modify certain proteins by adding a carbon chain (15 or 20 carbons), thus allowing the enzyme to anchor itself in the cell membranes. This article is a review of the literature on enzymes that participate in protein prenylation and the use of these enzymes as targets for the development of pest control products. Two main categories of enzymes are involved in prenylation: those responsible for the synthesis of carbon chains and those responsible for their liaison with proteins. Although some enzymes belonging to the first category have been well characterized in insects, there are fewer studies on enzymes belonging to the second group. However, their important role suggests that they are promising targets for the development of new insecticides.